STX France lands billion-euro luxury liner contract
An ailing French shipyard landed a billion-euro contract Thursday as
a US cruise company announced it was ordering a massive luxury liner
from STX France at Saint Nazaire.
The deal comes as a lifeline to the shipyard, which had failed to
secure any major orders for nearly two years.
(FILES) This photo taken on December 18, 2012, shows workers
standing next to the cruise vessel MSC Preziosa at the STX
Europe naval dockyards in Saint-Nazaire, in western France,
during the final phase of its construction.The French shipyard
of Saint-Nazaire landed a multi-million-dollar contract on
December 27, 2012, as a US cruise company announced it was
ordering a massive luxury liner from STX France at Saint Nazaire,
on the Atlantic coast. Miami-based Royal Caribbean
International announced it was ordering a sister ship to its two
top-of-the-line cruise liners, the Oasis of the Seas and Allure
of the Seas, with an option on a second vessel. AFP
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, a former deputy for the
Atlantic coast region, hailed the news praising "the excellence of
French know-how in naval construction".
Miami-based Royal Caribbean International said it was ordering a
sister ship to its two top-of-the-line cruise liners, the Oasis of the
Seas and Allure of the Seas, with an option on a second vessel.
"This contract exceeds 1 billion euros representing over 10 million
hours' work over three years for the Atlantic shipyards and their
sub-contractors," said French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici in a
joint statement with Foreign Trade Minister Nicole Bricq.
"We are very satisfied," STX France chief executive Laurent Castaing
told France's I-Tele. "The competition with Finland was fierce." The
company's two other Oasis-class liners, built in Turku, Finland, cost
900 million euros ($1.2 billion) each according to the trade press. They
were delivered in 2009 and 2010.
For the French shipyard it is a welcome boost after four years
blighted by the financial crisis.
The SXT France yard employs 2,100 people, supporting another 4,000
Studies will start in January 2013 while construction is planned to
start in September.
"We are extremely proud to have been selected by Royal Caribbean
International to build this third unit," STX France managing director
Laurent Castaing said in a statement.
"The ship is a real exception in the cruise world as it is highly
innovative and spectacular." Royal Caribbean said its capital spending
would be $1.3 billion for 2012; $700 million in 2013; $1.2 billion in
2014 and in 2015; and $1.3 billion in 2016.
Belgium airport fears TNT departure, eyes FedEx deal
Belgium's Liege airport, one of Europe's busiest freight hubs, hopes
to entice US parcel delivery firm FedEx away from Paris airports should
Dutch firm TNT Express depart for Germany.
The head of the Liege airport board, Jose Happart, told daily
newspaper La Libre on Saturday that the airport was eyeing a deal with
FedEx should the Dutch company go as the result of a looming tie-up with
US delivery giant United Parcel Service (UPS). UPS launched a
5.16-billion-euro ($6.71 billion) takeover bid for TNT Express last
If approved by EU anti-trust authorities, UPS could well decide to
move the Dutch firm's Liege operations -- involving some 2,000 jobs --
to its own UPS hub in Cologne, in order to streamline services and
"If TNT goes there is another big company, FedEx, which is currently
based in Paris," said Happart. "We will try to attract it here in part."
But he added that "if TNT were to leave Liege Airport, it would likely
not be a total withdrawal."
UPS said in November that it had amended its multi-billion-euro bid
for TNT Express to meet EU conditions and close the deal by next year.
The European Commission competition authorities said last year they
were worried that the proposed merger would reduce the number of
so-called integrators from four to three and lead to a highly
concentrated market for domestic and international express delivery
UPS and TNT Express are major players in the sector for delivery of
small packages and are two of four firms with a comprehensive air and
road delivery network on the continent. Others present in Europe are DHL,
owned by Deutsche Post, and FedEx, a US-based company. The deal is
expected to put UPS ahead of its two competitors as it would strengthen
its position in Europe and globally.
TNT Express is a global player operating in more than 200 countries
and maintains a leading role in the road freight network in Europe. UPS
is the world's biggest package-shipping group, with annual revenues in
2011 of $53.1 billion and 400,000 employees.
Finnish ship builder to cut jobs: union
Ship building firm STX Finland is to reduce its headcount after it
failed to clinch a one billion-euro ($1.33 billion) cruise ship order,
the Finnish Metalworkers' Union said on Wednesday.
"The financial situation and the loss of the Sanctuary cruise ship
order to France means the company's fixed costs have to be reduced by 30
percent," the union said in a statement.
A union representative, Jari Aalto, said talks over job cuts would
begin on January 8. STX Finland has around 2,200 employees, and "several
hundred" jobs are at risk, he added.
The Finnish government had turned down a request from the troubled
company for a 50 million-euro loan to help it secure the order.
Miami-based Royal Caribbean International last week announced that
the order for a sister ship to its two top-of-the-line cruise liners,
with an option on a second vessel, would go to the company's rival STX
France. The company declined to comment on the number of redundancies
when contacted by public broadcaster YLE.